tv [untitled] May 20, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
legislative body ever acted on so many important questions. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you. we do have some time for questions. i would ask you to come up to this microphone if you have a question you'd like to ask. anyone? others of you if you have questions, if you'll come up and be ready to ask your question.
>> i was wondering, thomas krou well and several other authors wrote about the problem of counterfeiting operations during the civil war. and i was wondering if during the process where the united states government was drafting the moral act and the homestead act of 1862 if they ever thought about the possibility of counter fit operations being established in the midwest and northern great plains.counterfit operati established in the midwest and northern great plains. and if so what were their plans in preventing such an event. >> i found no record of that being a concern it for tfor they department, which particularly in 1862 was, if you read samson
chase's, the secretary treasury's diary, it becomes clear that he was running an endless effort simply to fund the next day's operations. or argue bring the past weably operations. day after day he comes in to his office to find million of dollars of unpaid bills on his desk and he'll complain about the fact that he has no idea how to pay them. and if they had been paid in cou counterfeit money, i think that would have been fine with him. most of the republican party was strongly opposed to the idea of fiat money, greenback money, to
begin with. chase and lincoln were really driven to the wall by the fact that they had no alternative way of funding the war. it's literally mind boggling to me at least when i see what happened to the federal budget from 1860 to the end of 1862. the entire federal budget of 1860 was $80 million. in 1862, they were spending roughly $50 million per week. another way to put this explosive growth of the federal government into terms that we can understand, the presidential staff, i'm not talking about the residential white house staff, the buckler, the cooks and so forth.
the president's executive staff when lincoln arrived in washington in 1861, was one. his budgeted staff was one secretary. that had been good enough for all the previous presidents. why wouldn't it be good enough for him. john nicolai had a place on his federal budget. his colleague had to be put on the interior department budget until lincoln could persuade the congress that he needed another person on his staff. eventually he got a third secretary by hiding him at the patent office. so while the issue you're raising is real and the devaluation of money was a huge
problem for the north through the war, although infinitely larger problem for the south where inflation by 1863 was running at vimar republic rates, it was an issue that just didn't rise to the top of their agenda that i can determine. the other story i like about the money is schas did not want to go to fiat money. he tried everything he could not to. but when he finally did , he never got over the fact that the republican party had made such a terrible mistake in 1860 in chicago by nominating abraham lynn cop instead of himself to be president. and as doris kerns goodwin has said in team of rivals so nicely, a lot of people in the
cabinet felt that way, but most of them got over it. chase never got over it and he was running for president constantly even as he was treasury secretary. so it donned on him in january after the currency law had been passed that there were going to be millions and millions of pieces of paper circulating across the united states into every wallet, symbols of prosperity and the future of the country and there ought to be a picture on there. so every denomination, evergreenback printed during the civil war had chase's picture on it until he left as treasury secretary. so any other questions?
>> one quick question. i'm very encouraged by the 37th congress' accomplishments, but i'm also troubled by the prescription for their success and i was curious if there was anything that we could do other than asking our good friends from south of the mason dixon to kind of leave the session, which governor perry has indicated some desire to do, if there's any other success for relieving gridlock today. >> yes, that's an excellent question. hopefully we will not have such an extreme solution, but i think in the second of my points where i it talked about a compelling agenda this is where i tend to see a way forward. i would argue that part of the fact that we are at such a 50/50 in our country right now,
election after election being decided by a handful of votes, and even the nearly unprecedented example in 2000 of the loser winning it in the popular vote, that one of the explanations for this is that neither of the parties really has a vision of the american future for the 24 2 1st century that a majority of americans find compelling. and so they work on wedge issues, they turn up the volume on this, turn down the heat on that, they're very personal campaigns, so on and so forth, because net of them will look at what's going on in the republican party right now. they don't even have an agenda
that they are galvanized around themselves. the democrats have arguably clearer agenda, but frequently they find that it doesn't speak to the middle of the country. so where i think the gridlock is ultimately going to be broken is when one of the two parties becomes a majority party. and if you look at the republican party, certainly not a majority party in 1860, you know, abraham lincoln received a smaller percentage of the vote in 1860 than any president in american history. he used to say when people asked him why he hadn't fired george mcclellan, he'd say i'm a minority president and he's a majority general. but by the end of that war, the
republican party was definitely a majority party and was for the next 30 years because in large part they had articulated an agenda that americans were ready to get behind. >> you raised spectrum of corruption. it was legal to bribe congressmen until 1853, after which time it was legal to pay them consulting fees to do things. which is interesting. so i wondered in relation to the money you were talking about, was it consulting fees some i know it's stocks. you mentioned that. if you could you sxheyou could . >> a huge amount -- question if anyone could not hear is what was the legal at that tistatus
money the lp&w was throwing around in congress. a huge amount of what they were doing is offering land which they had not yet fully stole p from the indians but were going to and that land was of questionable value, but if it had the transcontinental value cao through going through it, it would be of great value. it was certainly scandalous. the reason we know so much about the september of their bribery is that in 1876, 134 years later, the whole thing blew open, how did this get done in the first place.
the biggest washington scandal of the late 19th century. went all the way up to the speaker of the house, the aforementioned james blaine, your i ewing's cousin who lied his way through the process by saying that he didn't get any money. but the lp&w had been kind enough to future historians to keep detailed records of all the bribing they had done because they were throwing so much money around that they were losing track of who they had bribed, who they still had to bribe, how much they had promised here and there. since this is a room full of scholars and historians, i will say it got cut from my book, but i did find the smoking gun in
the course of my research for this book, there is actually a letter from jamgs blaine to thomas using in the using family papers written just after congress adjourned in which he said, oh, by the way, at the last minute i had to promise this guy at the navy department who is a friend of william thesenden some money so he would keep his mouth shut. a complicated deal. but he then says so i'll pay him out of my share unless you want me to -- unless you're willing to do it. so blaine, who claimed not to have been involved at all was up to his hips. and it was hugely scandalous, but problem for grant at the end of his second term. >> i was wondering what
convinced the europeans to stop moving it for negotiated settlement. >> the europeans were right at the door and ultimately, i would say it was three fold, their decision to stay out. number one, france very much wanted to interview because the emperor of france was trying to re-establish a french empire in north america. he had troops it in mexico. he was about to install a puppet ruler of mexico. and the confederacy was promising we could do a lot of nice things together. we can make beautiful music together here in the southern half of north america. but he didn't want to get in
unless the british were going to get in, too, and make take joint project. you probably know what the prospects historically have been for successful joint operations by france and england. that one was kind of starting out under a doomed ill fated start. so those tensions first. and the idea of an even larger pan european intervention was being knocked down primarily by russia. russia saw the united states as its best friend in the world. they were the two rising new powers. they had europe bracketed on each side and russia very much wanted to see the power of the
united states sustained. then there was an arc of the war and 1862 kind of runs like this. it starts at a very low point. lincoln on january 2nd actually talks to his friend, john dal gasoline, about what dal gasoline talks about the bare possibility of our being two nations. first time lincoln had ever entertained the possibility that he might not be able to save the union. that's his mood on the first day. in february, the store clerk from illinois, ulysses grant, with 12,000 men, goes into tennessee and strikes the fastest most efficient, most dramatic blow against the south
of the entire war. he captures the cumberland and tennessee rivers in the space of a week and the entire western line of the confederate army is shattered. so the mood goes clear up here. and by the end of april, they've captured new orleans which was according to the great winfield scott, that was the key to winning the war was to capture new orleans. and at that point, lincoln is having william seward write letters proposing the exact opposite kind of solution, where the europeans withdraw their recognition of belligerent rights from the south because they're about to lose anyway and that will get the cotton moving. so they're up at this height . and then, bam, right back into the depths symbolized by the
second battle at manassas where the union military leadership actually turns on each other to lose a battle within ear shot of the white house and the confederates invade kentucky and maryland and at that point both in paris and in england the leaders of both countries are talking about this is the time to intervene. fortunately europeans love their summer vacations. this is a key point of american history. they all went on vacation and said we'll deal with this when we get back in october. by october, the united states had won the battle of antidum and the confederates had been pushed out of kentucky and maryland, lincoln had issued the
preliminary emancipation proclamation and the whole face of the war changed. the anti-slavery movement in england was an important political force and as long as lincoln seemed to be shilly shallowing about slavery, the pro confederate forces could say slavery's not an issue here, but now lincoln had put it front and center and england would be intervening on behalf of the slave power against freedom and that was unsustainable. so that political calculation second. and then the third one which was more important than some of the histories suggest is that palmerston was a very old man by this time and he loved to fight wars. he had sent the british navy all around the world intervening all
over the place. he was happy to intervene in little wars. but he had learned some things about war and when he saw what had happened first at shiloh where in two days more americans were killed than in all the battles ever fought in north america try prior to that weekend, in one battle, and then what happened at malvern hill, at gains mill, and the incredible slaughter at antidum, the bloodiest single day in american history. he basically said those people are crazy. and he walked into the cabinet. his exact words were the 30 years war in germany was a joke compared to this. and if we think we're going to sail over there and break them
up, we're nuts. and lincoln and his secretary of state, william seward, were very keen to this. right at that time, s evechsewa a letter to the ambassador in london. he said you let them know they're looking at a war of the world, he called it. not a world war. that hadn't been coined. but this is one of the earliest uses of this phrase, a war of the world if they try to get in the middle of this. and so those were the three factors i'd say. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> as you know, these folks know, you don't, we have a little memento. see, you can tell. they lost all respect for this.
anyway, a little memento of your being here. we hope you'll come back. >> awesome. thank you. >> thank you. as the presidential campaign enters its final months and the political parties prepare for their conventions, american history tv will air c-span's original series the contenders featuring 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost but impacted american political i will history. we'll air the series every weekend from june 3rd to september 2nd on sundays at 8:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. eastern all here on americans history tv on c-span3. and join us as historians preview the series on saturday, june 2nd at 10:00 a.m. eastern. next, a look at our recent visit to oklahoma city, oklahoma
to learn about the city's rich history and literary culture. [ speaking in a foreign language ] i said my name is blue clark, and i said hello, ladies and gentlemen. [ speaking in a foreign language ] i said that my clan is the win clan and my church is big casita. i come out of casita town. you're viewing behind me the point for the american indian culture center in oklahoma city. it is one of those monuments, in
my mind, that happens once in a lifetime. when completed, this will be the focus of children's and grandchildren's understanding of who american indians are, whomever passes through here, this will advertise the state of oklahoma, this will advertise the united states, this will advertise a major portion of american history, which is indigenous. and on this continent, the vast majority of that history is pre-history for hundreds of thousands of years, if not millennia. native peoples have been in this area for a very, very long time. over time, they had moved with drought or buffalo herds or
other reasons, and then other american indian groups came in by force called removal into this region. some came voluntarily into this area from the southeastern united states to avoid the expanding frontier. some were buffalo hunters, some were mixed-blood traders with spanish, german fur traders, spanish settlers, french, a few english, other indians, long before any kind of forced removal, and then in the indian removal act, enacted by congress in 1830, that allowed the president to institute policies that would move into this area, indians who occupied the eastern woodlands of the united states, to free that area up for settlement and pioneer settlement. it took awhile to abstain the
louisiana purchase in 1803, and in congress the following year, authorized the federal government to encourage indian peoples to enter into this area west of the mississippi. >> why oklahoma? >> this was called indian territory and was established once the louisiana purchase territory was acquired. this was considered to be unoccupied. this was considered to be buffalo country, indian country, and unclaimed by only a tiniest handful of non-indian settlers, so it was, in a sense, wide open. it was already occupied by numerous indians, but that barely entered into the thinking of the federal government, and in georgia, gold was discovered in the late 1820s and pressure really jacked up to remove cherokee and other indians, georgia, alabama, and mississippi, and various tribes
underwent trails of tears, the most famous usually in art and film is the "cherokee trail of tears" in the late 1830s here into northeastern oklahoma, but many, many tribes have ended up in oklahoma, and after the american civil war, out on the plains, other tribes were persuaded to come to western oklahoma for reservations, so you get a great diverse collection of native peoples here in oklahoma. removal varied depending upon the wealth of the tribal members, depending upon the time of year, depending upon who came first, who came last. as an experience, who was in control of the removal, it has many layers of complexity, but certainly, there was terrible suffering for those who came walking through winter storms,
through ice, who were stopped by bureaucratic ineptitude, lack of food, no medicine, lack of tents, and you had to cross the mississippi at some point, lack of steamboats, lack of barges, you had to wait a month, two months, floods prevented the shipping to move people. some terrible experiences. the usual figure is about a quarter -- about a fourth of many of the five tribes perished as a result of removal, and then once you were herela hado start over again. lack of food, lack of amenities, continued hard times. in my own family, i grew up with stories of the creek trail of tears.
my great grandmother, vicey, was carried as a child over the creek trail of tears. we were lower creeks out of casita and kowita towns. kowita being william mcintosh's hometown, who signed and began the creek removal pressure, and when vicey was carried, i don't know exactly if it was late in the 1820s or later in the 1830s, i do not know. no one was certain of her age because there was no birth certificate, obviously, but there are many, many family stories that i grew up with of the creek trail of tears and vicey and then trying to reestablish themselves here in indian territory in the creek country as a lower creek, we were located in the so-called arkansas district.